With the arrival of April comes three fish-focused restaurants, all debuting within a few weeks of each other. Gloria and Simply Hooked are already open, while Icelandic Fish & Chips are set to arrive shortly (not to mention Alain Allegretti’s return to the NYC scene with the forthcoming Frenchie’s Fish Bar).
While no owner could point to a concrete reason why they chose to open a fish place right this very second — such as a lowering price of fish or a lack of supply in the neighborhood — it is indeed a curious phenomenon. Gloria owner Leland Meibeyer came closest when he told Eater that, “eating pescetarian is a more conscious way of eating. We’ve seen it with the natural trend of healthier food in the last few years. I think it’s something the public wants, and [these fish restaurants opening are] a reflection of that.”
Read on for a look at what’s open and what’s to come.
A seasoned pair of Contra vets (Phil Johnson and chef Diego Garcia, who was also a Le Bernadin sous chef, along with Leland Meibeyer) has turned its attention to all things fish, strictly not allowing meat to enter the restaurant after finding pescetarian was a common dietary restriction with diners at Contra. Thus, Gloria uses sustainable Atlantic Ocean fish from Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co., and the team proudly has no meat on the menu, even for use in stocks or the usually-requisite burger, which coincidentally makes it very vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, too. The menu has many influences, from Japanese (wild mushrooms in dashi broth) to Mexican (skate wing with tomatillo and nopales), plus a full bar. The small space — 14 tables with eight seats at the bar — has a cozy feel, with deep blue banquettes and lots of corners.
Gloria is now open at 401 W. 53rd Street from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Brussels and London restaurateur Jason Linehan has brought his fish and chips concept stateside, landing in NYC’s Lower East Side (47 Clinton Street) for what he hopes is his first U.S. location of 10 or 12. It’s a mix-and-match format here, from the menu to service style, where you can choose your fish, batter, and sauce style, alongside if you’d like counter or full service. Sustainably-sourced, local fish — goes beyond the typical cod, and the batter is similarly fresh, engineered by French Master Chef finalist Matthew Leuliette. Simply Hooked has a partnership with actor Adrian Grenier’s ocean advocacy Lonely Whale Foundation.
For the rest of April, Simply Hooked is open daily from dinner from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., with lunch to launch in May.
The latest food import to hit New York City is a well-liked Icelandic fish and chips shop, appropriately called Icelandic Fish & Chips. It’s a 90-seat restaurant on 7th Avenue South between Bleecker and Carmine, set to open in late May. Owner Erna Kaaber will fly in Icelandic fish several times a week, use a spelt flour batter, base the fish dipping sauce in Skyr (that low-fat, barely sweetened Icelandic yogurt), and employ Icelandic herbs like birch and caraway in the cocktails. In an interesting twist, former Food Network star David Rosengarten curated the wine list.